The volcano of Tallante (Pliocene) in the Betic Cordillera (Spain) exhumed a heterogeneous xenolith association, including ultramafic mantle rocks and diverse crustal lithologies. The latter include metagabbroids and felsic rocks characterized by quartz-rich parageneses containing spinel ± garnet ± sillimanite ± feldspars. Pressure–temperature estimates for felsic xenoliths overlap (at 0.7–0.8 GPa) those recorded by the mantle-derived peridotite xenoliths. Therefore, we propose that an intimate association of interlayered crust and mantle lithologies characterizes the crust–mantle boundary in this area. This scenario conforms to evidence provided by the neighbouring massifs of Ronda and Beni Bousera (and by other peri-Mediterranean deep crust/mantle sections) where exhumation of fossil crust–mantle boundary reveals that this boundary is not sharp. The results are discussed on the basis of recent geophysical and petrological studies emphasizing that in non-cratonic regions the crust–mantle boundary is often characterized by a gradational nature showing inter-fingering of heterogeneous lithologies. Silica-rich melts formed within the crustal domains intruded the surrounding mantle and induced metasomatism. The resulting hybrid crust–mantle domains thus provide suitable sources for exotic magma types such as the Mediterranean lamproites.

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